List Price: $1.795 million
Sale Price: $1.47 million
The Property: About a year ago, construction ground to a halt on this 16-room mansion in South Barrington, leaving much of its interior unfinished—including a planned copper dome, which had only been framed out with wood. But that didn’t stop the selling agent from making a silk purse out of this 22,795-square-foot sow’s ear.
In his listing for the property, Steve McEwen wrote: “Looking for a custom home without waiting 3 years to build? You found it . . . opportunity to customize the interior.”
The home is in a three-way tie for second largest in South Barrington, says Ray Wolfel, the town’s building and zoning officer, and it’s the biggest that has been sold uncompleted. (I can’t find any comparably sized houses in the region that were sold unfinished.) Permits on file in his office show that construction began in October 2007, and Wolfel thinks work stopped in 2009 but then picked up again in 2010—“so they could put in the septic field and finish the exterior stone,” he says, “so it had more curb appeal and could be sellable.” He adds that the last building permit expired in March 2011, although construction appeared to have stopped before that.
“The house is in what we call rough stage,” Wolfel says. That means the basic wood framing, plumbing, carpentry, and heating, cooling, and utility piping are in place, but the visible finish work may not have been completed. The last time he was in the house was over the summer, Wolfel says, and there was no sign of deterioration or mold. “It’s heavy-duty construction with steel beams and thick foundation walls,” he said. “It’s built more like a bank than a house.”
McEwen and the couple who were building the house, Chad and Anna Arthur, declined to comment. And because the only interior shot on the listing was of the underside of one of the three domes, it’s not possible to tell how far along finish work was (or wasn’t) at the time of the sale. The listing described the home as having six bedrooms and seven full and three partial baths, though it’s not clear whether interior walls defining those rooms were completed.
Chad Arthur has a commercial real-estate company in Elk Grove Village, and he was the CEO of Arthur Machinery until that company went bankrupt in April 2009. The buyers are not yet identified in public records of the sale.
Price Points: The Arthurs bought the lot in 2003 for $290,000, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds; their mortgage was for the entire purchase price. Four years later, in November 2007, they took out a mortgage of $3,161,772 on the property. The recent sale, which closed December 30, was for 46.4 percent of that mortgage amount.